How To: Make a Vintage Postcard
Taking you back to the good ol' days of stylish postcards.

Design Master

Quick Tip: Need beautiful postcards ASAP? Check out our reviews of the best postcard printing services. Prices start at $0.14/postcard!

Vintage postcards are wonderful nostalgic reminders of a time, place, or person from the past. Maybe it’s the old-timey fonts, the faded colors, or the old design standards, but something about them feels warm and comfortable.

In just 7 steps, you can learn how to create a vintage postcard. Depending on the type of postcard you want to design, the steps may slightly differ, although many of the elements remain the same. I used Adobe Photoshop CS5 to make my example, but you can use another version of Photoshop as well.

Step 1. Sketch Your Design

Get inspired by searching the internet for photo of vintage postcards. Decide on the style, content, and images you want in your postcard design. Figure out what your postcard will look like.

How to Make a Vintage Postcard 1

Step 2. Set Up the Document

There are a variety of postcard sizes, but the standard is 6″x 4.25.” If you plan on using the postcard for business purposes, check out the required specifications on the U.S. Postal Office’s website.

How to Make a Vintage Postcard 2

Step 3. Insert the Text

I inserted text at an angle. To do this, select the Line tool and draw a line in the direction you would like the text to go. Then, select the Type tool, click on the line you just made, and type your word. Now open the Layers palette and click on the eye icon so the line is not visible.

How to Make a Vintage Postcard 3

Step 4. Add Text Effects

Lots of vintage postcards have some kind of stroke or color around the text. Double click the text layer on the Layers palette which will bring up the layer style menu, select “stroke,” and then you can change the color or width of the stroke. If you’re placing your text over a busy image, this will make it more legible.

How to Make a Vintage Postcard 4

Step 5. Insert a Picture

Find a great picture to serve as the background for your postcard. Make sure the image is high resolution, preferably 300 DPI. To give a color picture a vintage feel, convert it to black and white (Image>Adjustments>Black and White).

How to Make a Vintage Postcard 5

Step 6. Set the Boundaries

For the reverse side of the postcard, you’ll need to set the boundaries to the U.S. Postal Service’s standards. Here is a useful image that shows you the correct specifications:

How to Make a Vintage Postcard 6

Step 7. Print It Out

To actually get a physical postcard, you can either send the file to a printer or print at home, preferably on a thick stock paper. If you opt to use a professional printer, we’ve already gone ahead and combed through the best online postcard printers on the web. Check it out!

Get Going!

Well, look at that: You just made a vintage postcard! One of the best suggestions I have to create amazing and vintage-looking postcards is to keep looking at examples. Look for great images, interesting fonts, or cool uses of color filters and play with them until you make something that would impress F. Scott Fitzgerald or Davy Crockett. Bon voyage!

Featured image courtesy of tias.com

RELATED TOPICS:
About the Author
Kristi Maddox is a master of graphic design, on-site design and ordering, and is the go-to for template and design tool usage.
Kristi and the team order print jobs from every major printer to test quality, value, customer service, and more. See their reviews here:

7 Comments

  1. using already vintage photos works good to 🙂

    • I agree Marylan, have made a number of projects from old photos into postcards and all have been fun and came out well.

      • Kristi Maddox (Printaholic.com)

        I triple agree! Making postcards out of old photos can be so much fun! It is a bit tougher to make a bulk amount though, so for large projects like direct marketing campaigns, editing current photos might be the best option.

  2. i looooove vintage postcards. I used to go to flea markets and look for them back when I lived in Massachusetts

  3. Will photos print well on cardstock? I’m looking to use a vintage cream colored cardstock, but am worried about print quality.

    • Kristi Maddox (Printaholic.com)

      Hi Elizabeth! From our own experience, photos never print well on cardstock. So if you want to create a photo postcard, we suggest using Strathmore Cards (which is a brand you can find on the web) in a glossy or matte finish. Good luck with your postcard project!